CHA News Article

Disaster Planning Conference Highlights Stories of Hospital Preparedness and Response

The program agenda and keynote speakers for CHA’s upcoming Disaster Planning for California Hospitals Conference, Sept. 22–24, will focus on lessons learned from hospitals experiencing disasters throughout the country. Lillian Morris, chief safety officer for the Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia, will open the conference with the remarkable story of the hospital’s response to the January chemical spill. Morris will share how the hospital managed to continue caring for patients despite a six-day interruption in its water supply. The following day begins with a recount of how Vanderbilt University responded to and recovered from a 1,000-year flood in Nashville, Tennessee. The program concludes with the inspiring story of the response to a FedEx truck and bus crash in Orland, California. Other general sessions will share the work of key government partners Cal OES and OSHPD, as well as the proposed changes to the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Emergency Preparedness.

The conference also offers 19 different breakout sessions, including information on changes to the Hospital Incident Command System, implications of emergency declarations and the EMS patient movement strategy for the Asiana plane crash. New this year, each round of breakouts will include a presentation with a pediatric/OB focus, as well as a session on business continuity.

A pre-conference workshop, “Violent Threats in Health Care: Readiness and Resilience for When the Unthinkable Happens,” is scheduled for Sept. 22. This important workshop will feature ways to improve the culture of safety throughout a hospital. Topics include exercise planning, contemporary challenges in preparing the facility for response, and the behavioral health considerations in both planning and recovery. Speakers include an executive from a Nevada hospital that was the site of a recent shooting, and a nurse involved in a hostage situation at a Utah hospital.

More than 800 people typically attend this annual conference, which will be held in Sacramento. For more conference details and to register, visit